There was a lot of anxiety in the room when I wrote on the whiteboard "150 in 90."
I told my recruiting staff, that while they had done a great job, we need to double our hiring rate of very specialized clinical researchers, engineers, and regulatory affairs professionals to 150 in 90 days. Making this task more difficult was our location for Medtronic's Vascular business. It was in the city of Santa Rosa CA, 60 miles north of San Francisco, better known for incredible Redwood trees, natural beauty, wineries, organic vegetables, tourism, and pot smoking than as a mecca for making your career in the medical device industry.
Now that I had caught their attention, I told my recruiting team that every Monday morning the executive team of the business, after their review of quality and reliability issues reported by the doctors who implant our products, and after the technical reviews from our innovation teams, wanted an update on recruiting. Every Monday they wanted to know how many resumes we had for each job posting, the number being interviewed, the percentage of offers accepted, and when the new hires would start.
The progress with innovation and recruiting is what stood between the business’s current poor market and financial performance and being No. 1 in the marketplace with the best coronary drug-eluting and bare metal stent and the ancillary products to support them.
"This is why we love recruiting," I told them. "You are part and parcel of the success or failure of the business. This is a revenue generating business, a make it or break it fast growing business based on innovation. The business needs great workers now and lots of them. There is nowhere to hide, and the success of the business is on the line.
"Now," I asked. "What do you need to achieve this?"
They were an exceptional recruiting staff. They were hunters. Great recruiters are like sales reps. They are hunters and love competition. They love to win. I love to win. In recruiting you get a win with a job offer acceptance and a loss when a great job candidate goes to the competition. They were not like my staff of human resources business partners assigned to one or more of our functions. They were also a great staff who know the labor law, could resolve disputes, give career advice, build up people's confidence, develop leaders and teams, and help build great cultures. The business partners were more like farmers: they grew great talent and great organizations. The recruiters hunted them down and lured them in.
The recruiters were dedicated to The Mission of the company to alleviate pain, restore health and prolong life. They believed in our current products and our executive leaders, and in the men and women they hired to do this work of developing the next generation of drug-eluting stents to open arteries and either stop or prevent heart attacks. Some of them had family members who had coronary stents in their hearts. Based on internal seminars they knew that new drug eluting stents with better polymers and drugs could reduce the swelling of scar tissue in the interior heart vessel wall and improve the patient's chances of recovery.
The recruiters had sensible answers to my question, "What do you need?" More ads on job boards, participation at more career fairs, the latest recruiting technology which then was from LinkedIn, an increase to the employee referral bonus amount, a rise in our below market pay in the San Francisco Bay Area, more postings on specialty boards to avoid the hundreds of unqualified resumes Monster sent them, and to be relieved from some of the "bull shit." That is the administrative duties that go with clunky Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that then were a necessary evil and from too many pointless meetings that too often are part of the trappings of corporate life.
They also complained about how the ATS often requires you to wait for what seems like minutes on end showing you're a whirling circle symbol, while the system updates your entry, or worse losses your entry before it is recorded, requiring you to re-enter it?
No one said we couldn't do it.
I worked to get them their "want list" and more.
Organizations that outsource their recruiting function would have had no opportunity to rise to the business challenge. They would have been dependent on several headhunters to find them the talent they needed. Headhunters have conflicting priorities with many clients, they don't know your and business strategies, and they are expensive. In today's rapidly digitizing business world the success large recruiting firms have in search with their large number of contacts can no longer compete with Artificial Intelligence's ability to find and screen candidates using the internet.
Today, if I scribbled "150 in 90" on an electronic whiteboard in a virtual meeting for recruiters spread across the country, I would receive a different want list--in part. Getting out of the wasteful meetings would still be on the list. The flourish of digital technologies means being inundated with more requests from emails, texts, bots, office interruptions and phone calls--taking you away from the core elements of your job.
In addition to posting jobs on Indeed, CareerBuilder, BioSpace and LinkedIn, they would want to use artificial intelligence for recruiting, bots to contact entry level and college level candidates and determine their interest and availability, automated scheduling technology, and social media posts. They would want someone dedicated to monitoring the employer brand on social media and with the reviews being made on Glassdoor. They would still want to post ads, but on digital job boards and social media, not newspapers.
They would still want to use the learning of industrial-organizational psychologist to understand which selection methods are the best. This longstanding science shows us that a mix of cognitive assessments, structured interviews based on job family competencies, personality tests, and work sampling provide the best methods of selecting new hires that will perform well on the job. They would want to do the best they could to eliminate the biases of past or current selection processes to create a fairer world. They would still want to use career fairs in addition to digital recruiting platforms. Some tactics never seem to grow old.
The world of recruiting is currently going through a rapid transformation.